There has always been a general misconception over the ages that women entrepreneurs have found things difficult in a male dominated business world. However there has lately been a paradigm shift and women have broken through the glass ceiling, carving out a niche for themselves that is no less spectacular than men. Empirical studies on women entrepreneurs is a comparatively recent phenomenon and have been given importance because there is a significant rise in modern times of women increasingly occupying the business space. It has also thrown up certain unique facts and findings.
Likelihood of women starting their own business –This is an area that has a surprise finding – successful female entrepreneurs start as a second or sometimes third profession. Most have had a thriving career, have picked up the ropes well in their line of business and then started a venture that has done extremely well. This is the main reason why business life for most women start between the late thirties and the early forties. This is borne out by the findings that the average self employment rate for women under 25 years old in OECD countries is a mere 7.2% only. Further, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, more women start their own business out of necessity than men who do so as a profession. Men on the other hand prefer to branch out on their own soon after completing their education to start their own business enterprise.
Levels of Education – Women have progressed dramatically in this field and today run head to head with men, if not more so far as educational qualifications are concerned. Thus, the level of education for women entrepreneurs is at par with men and this enables them to run businesses as well as their men counterparts. This is a trend that has developed slowly over recent times.
Types of women run ventures – Studies have shown that most self employed women entrepreneurs are in wholesale and retail trade rather than manufacturing. They are at the lowest in real estate business where men play a dominant role. Women are also into healthcare and the beauty business. This is natural as women customers constitute a bulk of this market. Take for example the flourishing beauty salon and cosmetic treatment business. A woman will be a specialist in this field as most clients are women and there is the trust factor to contend with. Sale of laser IPL machines and checking their effectiveness will best be understood by women. After all skin rejuvenation treatment and permanent hair removal process is still a domain largely catering to women. However, there are now instances of women entrepreneurs in scientific and technical fields as well.
Variance between countries – Culture and religious constraints play a very important part in the number of women taking up business ventures. In Pakistan, a Muslim majority country, women account for only about 1% of the gender’s population with Sub Saharan Africa at the top end accounting for about 27% of the female population. It is a mindset that has been passed down through generations.
Fresh ongoing studies are likely to throw up more new perspectives on women entrepreneurs.